As reported by 24housing just yesterday (4th November), renters and housing justice campaigners from across England have come together to launch a national renter manifesto ahead of the General Election.
In a warning that political parties would be “foolish” to ignore the renter vote – a Generation Rent report identified 47 seats in England with a higher than average private renter population and a parliamentary majority of less than 5000 votes.
Now, the Landlords Alliance have hit back – with their own manifesto.
Written by Larry Sweeney, CEO of the Landlords Alliance, the manifesto calls for an alternative, positive agenda – which works for “both landlords and tenants”.
“Recent years have seen a sustained attack on private landlords by the government and other groups.
“The relationship between landlords and tenants has also been painted as adversarial by organisations which purport to represent tenants, but who in fact work against their interests”, says Sweeney.
He goes on to reference a recent English Housing Survey, which found that 84% of private tenants are “happy with their homes” – compared to 80% of social tenants.
“Conclusive proof that the sector is working extremely well has been ignored and instead, private landlords have been denigrated and the PRS has been misrepresented as ‘broken.’
“The policies which then follow from this are leading to many landlords now exiting the sector, at a time when more housing is desperately needed. The situation is crazy.
“That is why we at the Landlords Alliance propose an alternative, positive agenda; one which works for tenants and landlords”, Sweeney says.
This proposed ‘positive’ manifesto further calls on the government to:
- Scrap Section 24 – stating that the legislation is a “tax on turnover which will only drive rents up and landlords out of the market”
- Reverse plans to scrap Section 21
- Scrap Right to Buy
- Enforce laws already passed to target the small percentage of ‘bad landlords’
- Bring a halt to extortionate local licensing schemes and replace them with a national register along the lines of Rent Smart Wales, with a nominal charge
The manifesto also calls for government to commission an independent inquiry into Shelter to examine how it uses its approximate £60m annual budget “to target private landlords incessantly whilst not providing any housing itself”.
“Policies for any business or sector need to protect the interests of all interested parties – in this case, tenants and landlords.
“If the current parties persist in scapegoating private landlords, they will cause more damage to tenants”, Sweeney concludes.